Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the interaction between two interplanetary magnetic clouds and its consequent geoeffectiveness

Authors

  • Ming Xiong,

    1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory for Basic Plasma Physics, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Huinan Zheng,

    1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory for Basic Plasma Physics, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • S. T. Wu,

    1. Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, USA
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  • Yuming Wang,

    1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory for Basic Plasma Physics, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui, China
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  • Shui Wang

    1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory for Basic Plasma Physics, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui, China
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Abstract

[1] Numerical studies of the interplanetary “multiple magnetic clouds (Multi-MC)” are performed by a 2.5-dimensional ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model in the heliospheric meridional plane. Both slow MC1 and fast MC2 are initially emerged along the heliospheric equator, one after another with different time intervals. The coupling of two MCs could be considered as the comprehensive interaction between two systems, each comprising of an MC body and its driven shock. The MC2-driven shock and MC2 body are successively involved into interaction with MC1 body. The momentum is transferred from MC2 to MC1. After the passage of MC2-driven shock front, magnetic field lines in MC1 medium previously compressed by MC2-driven shock are prevented from being restored by the MC2 body pushing. MC1 body undergoes the most violent compression from the ambient solar wind ahead, continuous penetration of MC2-driven shock through MC1 body, and persistent pushing of MC2 body at MC1 tail boundary. As the evolution proceeds, the MC1 body suffers from larger and larger compression, and its original vulnerable magnetic elasticity becomes stiffer and stiffer. So there exists a maximum compressibility of Multi-MC when the accumulated elasticity can balance the external compression. This cutoff limit of compressibility mainly decides the maximally available geoeffectiveness of Multi-MC because the geoeffectiveness enhancement of MCs interacting is ascribed to the compression. Particularly, the greatest geoeffectiveness is excited among all combinations of each MC helicity, if magnetic field lines in the interacting region of Multi-MC are all southward. Multi-MC completes its final evolutionary stage when the MC2-driven shock is merged with MC1-driven shock into a stronger compound shock. With respect to Multi-MC geoeffectiveness, the evolution stage is a dominant factor, whereas the collision intensity is a subordinate one. The magnetic elasticity, magnetic helicity of each MC, and compression between each other are the key physical factors for the formation, propagation, evolution, and resulting geoeffectiveness of interplanetary Multi-MC.

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